In a just-published interview with
Rolling Stone, President Barack Obama says he favors a slow go
on repeal of “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” for the safety of gay
Advocates for repeal of the law that
forbids gay and lesbian service members from serving openly have
expressed anger that the president – who campaigned on the promise
of repeal – has not fiercely advocated against the policy.
“We are extremely disappointed with
the Obama administration,” R. Clarke Cooper, executive director of
gay GOP group the Log Cabin Republicans, told the Washington Post.
“Many times on the campaign trail, President Obama said he would
support the repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.' Now that it's time to
step up to the plate, he isn't even in the ballpark.”
Log Cabin Republicans convinced a federal judge to rule the law
unconstitutional and have asked the court for a “worldwide,
military-wide injunction” against its enforcement.
Obama administration has argued that the judge's ruling should be
limited to the 19,000 members of the group, and that to do
otherwise would harm the military.
Other groups have also decried
Democrat's foot-dragging on promised gay rights, including the
“They could have repealed 'Don't Ask,
Don't Tell,'” Mark Hinkle, chairman of the party wrote at his
group's website “They could have gotten rid of the Defense of
Marriage Act [the federal gay marriage ban, DOMA]. But they didn't
do either of those things. That's a complete and total betrayal of
all the promises they made to gay and lesbian voters for years.”
Hinkle's criticism came after Senate
Democrats failed last week to advance legislative repeal of “Don't
Ask, Don't Tell.”
Obama, however, says a slow-go approach
to repeal of the Clinton-era law is in the best interest of the gay
“Understandably, everybody has a
great sense of urgency about these issues. But one of the things that
I constantly want to counsel my friends is to keep the long view in
mind. On social issues, something like 'don't ask, don't tell.'
Here, I've got the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff
both committed to changing the policy. That's a big deal,” he told
“Now, I am also the commander in
chief of an armed forces that is in the midst of one war and wrapping
up another one. So I don't think it's too much to ask, to say 'Let's
do this in an orderly way' — to ensure, by the way, that gays and
lesbians who are serving honorably in our armed forces aren't subject
to harassment and bullying and a whole bunch of other stuff once we
implement the policy,” Obama added.
Advocates for repeal say they'll lobby
for another Senate vote after the midterm elections.